President, Others Weigh In On Death Of Ex-House Speaker Tom Fole - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

President, Others Weigh In On Death Of Ex-House Speaker Tom Foley

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© Former House Speaker Tom Foley © Former House Speaker Tom Foley

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former House Speaker Tom Foley has died at the age of 84 in his home. Foley's wife, Heather, said the Washington state Democrat died at his home in the nation's capital.

Foley became the first speaker since the Civil War to fail to win re-election in his home district. The courtly politician lost his seat in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. The Democrat had never served a single day in the minority. He was defeated by Republican Spokane lawyer George Nethercutt. Foley served as U.S. ambassador to Japan for four years during the Clinton administration. But he spent the most time in the House, serving 30 years including more than five as speaker.


Today, America has lost a legend of the United States Congress. For thirty years, Tom Foley represented the people of Washington's 5th district with skill, dedication, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of those he was elected to serve. Tom's straightforward approach helped him find common ground with members of both parties, eventually leading to his election as the 57th Speaker of the House. After his career in Congress, Tom served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, where his poise and civility helped strengthen our relationship with one of our closest allies. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Tom's wife, Heather, and the entire Foley family


Spokane Mayor David Condon issued the following statement remembering Speaker Tom Foley:

"Spokane lost a great leader and champion for this community today with the passing of Speaker Foley. Representing the heart of Spokane in Washington D.C. for 30 years, he advocated for the Spokane that he believed we could be and, in many ways, the Spokane that we are today.

Just one of the many efforts he led was that of the University District, now a vibrant downtown anchor that boasts entrepreneurial centers and top-tier universities. I am grateful for his commitment, service and leadership over those 30 years and the lasting impression he has left on our community."


McMorris Rodgers Remembers Tom Foley

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Chair of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement honoring former House Speaker Tom Foley (D-WA), who passed away today.

"Today, our hearts are heavy. Tom Foley was an honorable leader and colleague. He proudly served Eastern Washington with distinction for 30 years and will be remembered as one of our state's giants. Eastern Washington agriculture and wheat farmers still benefit today from his leadership as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and House Speaker. Foley was highly regarded and respected by Democrats and Republicans and he remains a model for leaders today.

"I will miss our visits before the State of the Union or other gatherings where he would reminisce or discuss challenges of the day. Today, let us all come together – here in Spokane and all across America – to send our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Tom Foley during this time of mourning."


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